Is America still the 'Land of Opportunity'?

SOUTH BEND New research out of Harvard University says economic mobility in the US hasn't changed much since 1971. That means families and children living in poverty still have a hard time getting out. The research also found economic mobility is consistently lower in the US than other developed countries.

The Equality of Opportunity study is unfortunate news for children. Newscenter 16 spoke to the Indiana Youth Institute about how to improve statistics.

"What they found was for the South Bend area was that a child born into the poorest homes in South Bend had about a 6% chance of earning $70,000 by the time they were 30, or 45 years old earning $100,000 or more," said Glenn Augustine, VP Advancment with the Indiana Youth Institute.

Part of the problem is disparity within the US.

"Opportunity has lessened here and in the south," said Augustine. "It's happening a little bit more in the Great Plains where the oil boom is happening and out west you think about the tech boom. Midwest has gotten a little bit left behind."

Several factors lead to economic mobility, including less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital and more stable families. These circumstanaces can lead to better opportunities for children, but the number one ingredient to success starts at home.

"No matter your race, or your income level, no matter where you come from, the number one predictor of a child's success in school is parental involvement," said Augustine. "The more involved a parent is in their child's education, the more likely it is that a child will succeed in school."

Click here to see the full research data.

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